The rumour mill has been abuzz since the last 4 weeks regarding Wesley Sneijder’s proposed move to the English champions. The player himself has added fuel to the fire by admitting he would like to play in England.
But do Manchester United really need the Dutchman and all the financial woes he entails?
UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rule is set be in play from next season (even though the actual barring from European competitions will only start from the 2013-14 season). The fair-play rule states that clubs will only be allowed to enter European competition if their generated revenues – money from various sources such as television rights, gate receipts, tournament prize money and sponsorship deals – is equal to or greater than their expenditure. Clubs are also barred from owing money to other clubs, players, tax authorities and social service departments.
Wesley Sneijder is no doubt an absolutely outstanding footballer with superb vision and technique and an eye for goal. He is already being touted as the perfect replacement for Paul Scholes.
But there are a couple of issues Sir Alex Ferguson needs to iron out if he really wants his man. The first of which has already been mentioned above, the money involved. The deal is alleged to be approximately £32 million with Sneijder commanding a weekly wage of an astounding £200,000 plus. Manchester United already have a huge weekly wage bill (with a certain Wayne Rooney earning a grand £230,000 per week) and they would do well in trying to get a lid on their financial situation before the fair play rule comes into effect.
The second problem Ferguson faces, is a tactical dilemma. Assuming Sneijder does sign on the dotted line, how exactly does the Scot plan on changing United’s shape?
Towards the tail end of last season, we saw the meteoric rise to fame of Javier Hernandez. That was largely down to Rooney playing as a false number 9. He was given a free role playing just behind Hernandez and he gave the opposition defense plenty of grief. He used to pull out the defense which gave Hernandez room to make the run off the shoulder of the last defender into space. The games against Chelsea in the Champions League are perfect examples of the brilliant understanding between the front two.
Now Sneijder plays a role very similar to what Rooney did last season. He isn’t in the Paul Scholes mould, he doesn’t like to sit back and spray passes. He likes to get forward, and create space for the strikers.
Do United really need to change their system and get Sneijder in a role which Rooney has already demonstrated he can do to devastating effect? There is no doubt Sneijder would be a fantastic player for any team in the world but fitting him into the current United system could take some valuable time which Fergie doesn’t have given the noisy neighbors are now breathing heavily down their neck.
With the likes of Tom Cleverley, Paul Pogba, Ravel Morrison and Danny Welbeck making the step up into the first team this season, United could really benefit from not delving into the transfer market for a marquee signing but instead sticking to their same system and letting their own youth products blood into the first-team.